“The EU and its Member States have over the years successfully built a robust fundamental rights infrastructure. However, in many areas, both the EU and Member States can, and must, still do better,” says FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “Our latest annual report shows that the current crisis is also a test for fundamental rights, and has implications for democratic legitimacy and the rule of law.”
Examples of issues in this year’s report include:
- An EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime was adopted. Member States are taking measures to ensure that victims have access to confidential victim support services;
- The impact of budget cuts on education, healthcare and social services for vulnerable groups, such as children;
- Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion, with many living in deep poverty and lacking access to healthcare and decent housing;
- The EU is driving forward efforts to reform the EU’s data protection framework, the most far‑reaching reform of EU data protection laws in 20 years;
- The EU pushed ahead with the increased use of databases and IT tools for border management and visa processing, and successfully negotiated asylum instruments which were under review. Following the implementation of the Return Directive, many EU Member States have introduced alternatives to detention in national law. However, figures indicate that alternatives are being used effectively only in some countries in practice. In others, detention remains the most frequent measure taken for persons in return procedures;
- Some Member States took further measures to combat racism and xenophobia through criminal law. These included ensuring that the criminal code better recognises crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and related intolerances, or through introducing enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by such biases.
- As 2012 was Year of Active Ageing the EU also focused on the challenges and obstacles facing older people, including those with disabilities.